When you set your travel sights on Stowe, Vermont, you’ll find yourself in the very place that hosts the state’s tallest peak. Stowe is a scenic and exciting vacation destination that’s a true mecca of fun for those with a passion for outdoor adventure. Here, visitors have easy access to an iconic ski resort in the winter as well as trails that lead to gorgeous cascades when temperatures rise and the snow melts away. Situated within reach of the Green Mountains, Stowe is an idyllic home base for great views, outdoor excursions, and one-of-a-kind adventures in all seasons. Even if you just opted to take a scenic drive, Stowe would be a place that inspires. Known and loved as a quintessential Vermont town, Stowe is also home to beautiful covered bridges, maple candy shops, fantastic eateries, award-winning craft breweries, and beyond. If you’re longing to leave the daily hustle behind and wind up somewhere you can focus on outdoor fun instead, there’s no better place than Stowe. Consider this your ultimate guide to outdoor Vermont adventure in the area when you can’t wait to elevate every moment with fresh-air thrills.

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Getting to and Around Stowe

Sitting in the shadow of towering Mount Mansfield in the northern Green Mountains, Stowe is the perfect pairing of small-town charm and rugged terrain that outdoor adventurers crave. Getting here is a breeze as Stowe sits just about a 45-minute drive from Burlington. Many visitors fly into Burlington International Airport where they can pick up a rental car and make the drive in at their own preferred pace, soaking up the scenery along the way. If you happen to be making a stop in the capital of Montpelier first, you’ll only be a 30-minute drive from scenic Stowe. While Stowe is a small community that’s extremely walkable if you’re planning to stay downtown and focus many of your activities here too, outdoor adventurers will typically find having a rental car is a good option. Many attractions are located just beyond Stowe’s perimeter and being able to head out to explore whenever you like is a convenient way to customize your stay in Vermont.

The Best Time of Year for Outdoor Fun

It’s fair to say that there is no bad time of year to make plans for an outdoor fun-focused trip to Stowe, Vermont. Mostly, it comes down to what your weather preferences are and what types of outdoor activities you enjoy adding to your itinerary. Summer is a prime time of year for hitting the mountain trails in style, chasing cascades, and cooling off in local swimming holes. Temperatures rise in the summer and there’s plenty of sunshine to go around. You’ll want to take note that summer is definitely one of the busier seasons in Stowe so if you don’t mind a few crowds here and there, you’ll be good to go.

For those who are looking to pair their outdoor adventures with admiring fall foliage, there’s no better time to head this way than the fall. Stowe is often pointed to as a top leaf peeping spot in the country year after year and the maze of trails leading through forested terrain means there’s no shortage of options to choose from when it’s time to trek with a camera in hand.

Spring is wonderful for those looking to make the most of outdoor fun with milder temperatures on their side, while a winter trip this way is a must for explorers who can’t wait to savor every second on the slopes. Stowe gets ample snowfall annually and is a prime place to enjoy everything from skiing and snowboarding to cross-country skiing and snowshoeing between January and March.

Set Your Sights on the Mount Mansfield Summit

A trip to Stowe that’s designed around outdoor adventure won’t feel complete without some time set aside to summit Mount Mansfield. The tallest peak in Stowe and in the state of Vermont is a must-try for anyone with a passion for lacing up their boots and hitting the trails. The good news is that while Mount Mansfield is impressive, it’s also refreshingly accessible.  Beyond hiking your way to the top, you also have options to ride a bike or drive certain routes that lead to impressive overlooks.

The mountain is divided into various sections known as the nose, the upper lip, the chin and the Adam’s apple respectively. The nose sists at 4,062 feet, the chin sits at 4,393 feet, and the Adam’s apple of the mountain enjoys a place at 4,060 feet. It’s entirely possible to drive to the nose on the Auto Toll Road if you depart from Stowe Mountain Resort. It’s a wonderful option between May and late October, covering 4.5 miles of terrain. If you prefer to hike from here, the Long Trail runs for 1.3 miles from the nose to the high point on the chin and offers up spectacular views along the way.

When you find yourself excited to attempt a base to summit excursion on foot, head over to Underhill State Park and trek the 3.3-mile Sunset Ridge Trail which is strenuous but rewards you with gorgeous vistas at every turn. For those who are interested in a guided outing, Spruce Peak Outfitters offers custom guided hikes that you can enjoy to the summit of Mount Mansfield alongside a knowledgeable and friendly guide. This is a great option if you want to maximize your time or you’re wanting to explore but aren’t entirely confident in your skill set quite yet.

Additional Hiking Options to Add to the List

Stowe is known and loved for its many hiking trails and beyond the Mount Mansfield summit, there is a long lineup of pathway options to enjoy. If you’re heading this way with the entire family in tow and you’re looking for a kid-friendly path to try, make Wiessner Woods your first stop. This is a relatively easy trail network with minimal elevation gains included in the area. Integrated into the Stowe Land Trust, Wiessner Woods sees many hikers coming through in the summertime to look for the hidden fairy gardens and gnomes that are sprinkled along the woods and pathways much to the delight of little ones! If you swing by in the wintertime, this is a top destination to enjoy cross-country skiing and snowshoeing alike.

Elmore Mountain is another great hike to consider if you’re willing to travel just 20 minutes outside of Stowe to reach the trailhead. In total, you’ll conquer a 4.5-mile loop with stops at Lake Elmore included. Along this route, the reward for scrambling on the Fire Tower Trail comes in the form of a refreshing dip in the water.

Yet another great choice to add to your itinerary in the name of hiking fun is Stowe Pinnacle. This is a welcoming 2.8-mile trek that’s moderately difficult thanks to a steady climb to the top. Heading out early in the morning on this route is always recommended as you’re going to want to take time to linger and enjoy the views without having to contend with any other groups of hikers.

Make Time for Mountain Biking

As exciting as hiking your way to fun in Stowe can be, sometimes, there’s nothing quite as refreshing or thrilling as exploring on two wheels. Stowe is adorned with top-notch Stowe biking trails that are suitable for cyclists of all skill levels. Over at Cady Hill Forest, you can enjoy access to 11 miles of mountain biking trails that are accessed along Mountain Road on Route 108. Forested trails are wonderful for making time to admire wildlife and lush terrain while more experienced riders might be drawn to the challenging and technical singletrack options available in the area. The Stowe trail network also includes Adamas Camp and Sterling Forest which are great to check out too.

Pair Vermont Adventure with Flavor

There’s absolutely no rule out there that says your outdoor Vermont adventures can’t be paired with fantastically flavorful moments. When you’re looking for the best of both, some quality time on the Stowe Recreation Path is always a good option. Beginning in Stowe Village, this route is 5.3 miles one way as it heads up the mountain to Top Notch Resort. While walking the Stowe Recreation Path is a treat in and of itself, it’s often the easy access to local hot spots along the way that keeps visitors coming back time and again. As you stroll along in the fresh air, there are options to stop off at places like Idletyme Brewing Company and enjoy a delightful beverage in good company. There are places to picnic, enjoy bird watching or make the most of access to the West Branch of the Little River where you can wade or swim. There are many bridges that span the West Branch of the Little River as well which provide a great backdrop for photos. Whether you walk or ride, this multi-use trail is worth exploring for yourself.

Chase Down Some Spectacular Cascades

It’s hard to imagine anything more mesmerizing than coming upon a waterfall while you’re out in nature enjoying grand adventures. When you’re visiting Stowe and hoping to have this experience, you’ll want to make sure to prioritize stops at Moss Glen Falls and Bingham Falls. Both cascades are free to access and require only a short hike to reach. Moss Glen Falls is just a 10-minute drive from town and stands 125 feet high. You’ll find Moss Glen Falls in the C.C. Putnam State Forest on Moss Glen Falls Road. If you head over to Bingham Falls, you’ll want to set out early in the day as this a popular place to swim, take photos, and picnic. The short hike to the upper part of the gorge is less than a mile and the trailhead is situated on the east side of Route 108 just north of Stowe. You’ll find parking options on both sides of the trailhead.

Get Out on the Water

When you’re looking to cool off, getting out on the water in and around Stowe is the way to go. Make your way to the Waterbury Reservoir when you’re in the mood to fish, swim, or paddle your way through a sunny afternoon in Vermont. Waterbury Reservoir is tucked into mountainous surroundings and is always as scenic as it is exciting to explore. The west side of the reservoir hosts Little River State Park where you can book ranger-led hikes or take part in sponsored interpretive programs throughout the year too. Over at Waterbury Center State Park, visitors are invited to launch their boats, rent canoes and kayaks, or paddle north towards the lakeside campsites.

Enjoy Winter Outdoor Adventures of All Kinds

As temperatures begin to drop and snow begins to fall, Stowe transitions into a ski enthusiast’s paradise. Over at Stowe Mountain Resort, downhill adventure seekers can check out incredible trails and lifts or book lessons if you’re excited to learn to ski for the first time in Vermont. Stowe receives over 300 inches of fresh powder annually so there’s no reason not to take advantage of access to the 116 trails and the vertical drop of 2,360 feet that Stowe Mountain Resort hosts. When you want to swap your skis for skates, the rink at the Village at Spruce Peak is open every day in the winter and is prime for working on your balance! Over at Gentle Giants you can book a horse-drawn sleigh ride through Stowe in the winter while the Trapp Family Lodge is a one-stop resource for top-of-the-line cross-country skiing.

Book Your Journey to Vermont Today

No matter what season your Vermont adventure journey brings you to Stowe, booking your stay in the Spruce Peak Lodge through Stowe Mountain Rentals is a sure way to infuse luxury and comfort into your stay. Reach out to learn more about our incredible property options available and how we can help you take your trip to the next level of excellence. We look forward to seeing you in scenic Stowe soon.

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